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Southern Cassowary ( Female )

Casuarius casuarius


The Cassowary's large size, Minimum Size: 150cm. Maximum Size: 200cm. Its large helmet (casque) and the red wattle hanging from the neck, make it easy to identify. The feathers of the body are black and hair-like. The bare skin of the head and fore-neck is blue, while the rear of the neck is red. Both sexes are similar in appearance, but the female is generally larger than the male, with a taller casque, and is brighter in colour. Young Cassowaries are browner than adults, and have duller coloured head and neck. The chicks are striped yellow and black. If a Cassowary is approached it will generally stand its ground. If the intruder approaches too close, the bird will stretch itself as tall as possible, ruffle its feathers and let at a loud hiss in an attempt to scare the intruder off. The birds are equipped with quite dangerous claws, and will readily attack a persistent intruder, although they usually retreat into the dense rainforest.


Rainforests. The dense habitat and the Cassowary's secretive nature make individuals difficult to see. In certain areas birds come near human habitation seeking food. Throughout their range, Southern Cassowaries live alone, and inhabit the same area all year round.


Feeding: The Southern Cassowary feeds mostly on fruit that has fallen to the ground. The Southern Cassowary will also eat anything from snails to small dead mammals. Southern Cassowaries normally feed alone. If two males should meet, they have a stand off where both birds stand tall, fluff up their feathers and rumble at each other until one retreats. If a male and female meet, the male will move away, as the female is dominant. Breeding: The female Southern Cassowary selects a male to breed with and then lays a clutch of large green eggs in a scrape in the ground lined with plant material. Once the eggs are laid, the male is left in charge of the incubation and chick-rearing duties, while the female moves away, and may even breed again with another male. During the breeding season, the parental males are very aggressive, and attacks on humans have been recorded at this time.

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MacChristiansen 5 years ago

Thanks Bhagya Herath

MacChristiansen 5 years ago

Thanks Ashley

MacChristiansen 5 years ago

Thanks Wild Things

MacChristiansen 5 years ago

Thanks Lori

Wild Things
Wild Things 5 years ago

Lovely pics Mac!

lori.tas 5 years ago

I've seen a Whooping crane on the wing Ashley, and know what you mean. Cassowarys are more velociraptor kin, I think.

AshleyT 5 years ago

Beautiful bird! Lori, I think Wood Storks (here in the Americas) are modern day pterodactyls. Especially when they fly!

lori.tas 5 years ago

I think the cassowary is the clearest evidence that birds are descended from dinosaurs. Amazing photos Mac. I've only seen one, in the forest of the Daintree. There one moment, gone the next.

MartinL 5 years ago

Mac, a cassowary was tragically killed by road accident in Kuranda recently, leaving a distressed partner behind. The surviving partner then became very shy. Your spotting is consistent with this story. Some details about this particular bird would be fascinating.

MacChristiansen 5 years ago

Thanks for the info Scott, This was a wild bird, ( not captive ) & habitat was rainforest

MacChristiansen 5 years ago

Thanks Tiz.

What a wonderful portrait!

Bhagya Herath
Bhagya Herath 5 years ago

WOW!!! Awesome....

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 5 years ago

Hello Mac. These, as you say, are very difficult to see, in the wild. Is this a captive? The Habitat field is meant to refer to the actual spotting rather than be general for the species (See FAQs "What should I add to my spotting?" and "What do I put in the fields?" Thanks!

Tiz 5 years ago

Odd looking fellow :) Thank you for the nice info mac! Never seen this one before!
Great to see some bird photos in your collection!

MacChristiansen 5 years ago

Added photos

Spotted by

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Lat: -16.81, Long: 145.65

Spotted on Jul 14, 2014
Submitted on Jul 14, 2014

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